I’m a feminist. I know that term gets a bad rap but to me, feminism isn’t about what choice you make, it’s about having choices. I believe men and women should be equal, it’s really as basic as that.

So when my daughter decided to dress up as an electrician for Halloween this year, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. While I would have supported whatever choice she made for her costume, I just loved that she choose something non-traditional. When we went trick or treating at our local Whole Foods (they had a fun event for kids) and she walked around wearing her hard hat, safety goggles and toolbelt, I had a big goofy grin the entire time. She was so excited about her costume choice and had no idea that girls aren’t really encouraged in our society to go into a trade. She was just proud to dress up like daddy (my hubby is an electrician) and even told her daycare provider the other day that not only did she want to dress up as an electrician for Halloween but she wants to be one when she grows up. {swoon}

Wouldn’t it be absolutely lovely if she could grow up believing she could go into a non-traditional field and not face any barriers?

Sadly, that’s not the case right now. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (yes I did my research!) there are 7,453 male electricians in Connecticut. You know how many female electricians there are in the state? Forty-three. That means that out of the total number of electricians in CT, only .5% are women.

There are many reasons girls don’t go into non-traditional fields but I think the main reasons are that (1) girls are not encouraged to even consider a skilled-trade, (2) girls get messages from society that math & science are things boys are better at and (3) the trades seem to be a good-old boys network and there’s a lot of derogatory talk about women among employees (not to mention there are issues with sexual harassment). Of course, I’m saying this in very general terms. I do think we are making great strides in breaking down this idea that math is a boy thing and there are efforts in CT to encourage more girls to become interested in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM). Particularly, I love that the CT Women’s Education & Legal Fund has a specific program called G2O aimed at inspiring & mentoring girls interested in STEM fields.

I, for one, believe that if a young woman wants to go into a non-traditional career she should receive support and encouragement. Non-traditional jobs pay good wages and can provide a wonderful level of economic security. I look forward to the day that our girls can grow up knowing that they really can choose whatever career they want without having to fight through outdated, sexist barriers. Maybe someday we won’t even need the term “non-traditional.”

My little electrician!

My little electrician!

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